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Fossilized Flying Lizard Embryo Found in China

June 12, 2004|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Scientists in China have discovered a 121-million-year-old fossil containing an embryo of a flying reptile that lived alongside the dinosaurs. It is the only known fossil of an embryo of a pterosaur, a winged lizard that evolved powered flight, the team reported in this week's issue of the journal Nature.

"Dinosaur embryos have been discovered all over the world, but so far no pterosaur embryos have been reported," the scientists said.

The embryo is preserved in an almost complete egg and was found in the sediment of a lake in Liaoning in northeastern China that is known for its fossil riches. Parts of its skull and skeleton are preserved and the lower jaw shows two slender and slightly curved teeth, according to the scientists.

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